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Close friend hit by pick-up truck

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Close friend hit by pick-up truck

Old 05-13-16, 07:41 AM
  #1  
mcours2006
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Close friend hit by pick-up truck

I hadn't connected with him for a month or so. He lives downtown and is sort of new to this bike commute thing. He usually tells me about the challenges he has, e.g., tires flattening mid ride, hitting icy patches, crossing railroad lines, etc, and I'd dispense my knowledge and 'wisdom' to him--get a patch kit and practice at home, getting a set of studded tires for the winter, crossing at less oblique angle, etc.

So anyway, I emailed him yesterday and asked how he was doing, commenting that he must be well as I hadn't heard him gripe about any issues, and if he's had the urge to upgrade his Trek 7.2. Oh, I guess you haven't seen my latest FB post, was his reply.

Well, I thought he must have bought a new bike and posted pics on FB. Turned out it was a selfie of him lying in a hospital bed, face bruised, teeth missing (good on him for still smiling), three broken ribs, broken scapula, and a chipped vertebra. I don't have too much details on how he was struck, but according to his FB comments he was pinned under the truck for 15 minutes.

He's okay and recovering. Sigh! This is hitting a bit too close to home.
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Old 05-13-16, 07:44 AM
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Sorry about your friend.

Seems to happen more than we know.

Police receive few tips week after bicyclist hurt in hit-and-run | WKRN News 2
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Old 05-13-16, 08:25 AM
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Close friend hit by pick-up truck

Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I hadn't connected with him for a month or so. He lives downtown and is sort of new to this bike commute thing. He usually tells me about the challenges he has...I'd dispense my knowledge and 'wisdom' to him...

So anyway, I emailed him yesterday and asked how he was doing, commenting that he must be well as I hadn't heard him gripe about any issues, and if he's had the urge to upgrade his Trek 7.2. Oh, I guess you haven't seen my latest FB post, was his reply.

Well, I thought he must have bought a new bike and posted pics on FB. Turned out it was a selfie of him lying in a hospital bed, face bruised, teeth missing (good on him for still smiling), three broken ribs, broken scapula, and a chipped vertebra. I don't have too much details on how he was struck, but according to his FB comments he was pinned under the truck for 15 minutes.

He's okay and recovering. Sigh! This is hitting a bit too close to home.
Of course I’m dismayed to hear of any cyclist in an accident, and I have posted in reply to a personal acquaintance on Bike Forums,

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Wow, sorry to hear about this. It sounds like a “major” crash, especially with such damage. I won’t ask “what happened?,” but posting details for me at least gives me renewed attention to such situations on the road….
Now it seems you have “mentored” this new cyclist. Just this morning I posted to a commuting thread about a subscriber trying to show a new cycling colleague the (cycling) ropes.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Originally Posted by Eds0123 View Post
A co worker has started bike commuting and he rides mostly on sidewalks. He could use some encouragement and video training for riding with the traffic in the streets…

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
As far as the old gent coworker, I suggest you mind your own business unless asked. He's comfortable on the sidewalk, and making it work for him. If you convince him to ride in the street, it may be safer or it may not. Either way, you'll have bought into his risk factors and if things work out badly for any reason, you'll catch the blame.
Well said @FB. When I read the OP, I just assumed that this advice was solicited...

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Frankly, I have posted that I would not be inclined to encourage, unless by example (nor discourage) someone to cycle-commute, but if they so chose, I would freely and gladly give any advice...I would not want the recriminations of a personal endorsement if something bad happened….

FWW, I’m not advocatin’ against, just sayin’
Just sayin’ that there is a difference between advising a new cyclist (hopefully correctly), and prompting one into a situation that they are not ready for, since there is unfortunately a terrible downside to our activity.

PS to @mcours 2006: This reply is not intended as a criticism of you, and as noted above, I too would freely and gladly give advice to a new cyclist. I have seen some posts though where perhaps an afficianado's enthusiasm might be inappropriate for some situations.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-13-16 at 09:03 AM. Reason: added PS
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Old 05-13-16, 08:47 AM
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Ugh. Best wishes to your friend.

I had a bike accident coming home from work several years ago. I don't know if a car was involved or not. Someone found me on the side of the road and brought me to the hospital. I had a cracked pelvis and a concussion. I have no memory of the accident or anything until waking up in my own bed with a hospital ID bracelet on my wrist the next morning, and I probably never will remember. I'd donated blood that day at work, so it's possible I passed out on my ride home. I reported the accident to the local police, just in case, but I didn't have much information to give them, and they were pretty dismissive.
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Old 05-13-16, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Close friend hit by pick-up truck
Now it seems you have “mentored” this new cyclist. Just this morning I posted to a commuting thread about a subscriber trying to show a new cycling colleague the (cycling) ropes.
I guess I sort of mentored him. I didn't encourage him to ride to work, but I think he was 'inspired' by my riding to work and decided to try it himself. And when I found out he was doing it I, of course, encouraged and advised him, and was excited for him as well.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Just sayin’ that there is a difference between advising a new cyclist (hopefully correctly), and prompting one into a situation that they are not ready for, since there is unfortunately a terrible downside to our activity.
Can't help but feel a little bit of responsibility. I know it's a silly thing, but still...
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Old 05-13-16, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by RichSPK View Post
Ugh. Best wishes to your friend.

I had a bike accident coming home from work several years ago. I don't know if a car was involved or not. Someone found me on the side of the road and brought me to the hospital. I had a cracked pelvis and a concussion. I have no memory of the accident or anything until waking up in my own bed with a hospital ID bracelet on my wrist the next morning, and I probably never will remember. I'd donated blood that day at work, so it's possible I passed out on my ride home. I reported the accident to the local police, just in case, but I didn't have much information to give them, and they were pretty dismissive.
Glad you're better. This thing that we do...makes you question your judgment sometimes, doesn't it?
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Old 05-13-16, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Glad you're better. This thing that we do...makes you question your judgment sometimes, doesn't it?
There are many things I've done that make me question my judgement. :-)
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Old 05-13-16, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I guess I sort of mentored him. I didn't encourage him to ride to work, but I think he was 'inspired' by my riding to work and decided to try it himself. And when I found out he was doing it I, of course, encouraged and advised him, and was excited for him as well.

Can't help but feel a little bit of responsibility. I know it's a silly thing, but still...
Thanks for your reply. As I wrote,

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I would not be inclined to encourage, unless by example (nor discourage) someone to cycle-commute, but if they so chose, I would freely and gladly give any adviceÖ.
I would have done likewise.
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Old 05-13-16, 12:15 PM
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@mcours2006 I am sorry for your friend and I wish him a speedy recovery; let him know it can take a long time.

It must have been horrifying for him if he recalls being stuck under the truck.
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Old 05-13-16, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I guess I sort of mentored him. I didn't encourage him to ride to work, but I think he was 'inspired' by my riding to work and decided to try it himself. And when I found out he was doing it I, of course, encouraged and advised him, and was excited for him as well.



Can't help but feel a little bit of responsibility. I know it's a silly thing, but still...
Don't. because people make their own decisions regardless of whether we prompt them, or merely inspire. We all may have different viewpoints on this, but I see nothing whatsoever wrong with encouraging people to commute by bike, and our only responsibility in that regard is to apprise them of the potential dangers.
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Old 05-13-16, 07:13 PM
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Thanks for the replies, everyone. The irrational side of me tells me that cycling to work is too dangerous, and if something like this could happen to a close friend then it could very well happen to me.

The rational half of me tells me that this is the usual response when something tragic or near tragic happens to someone close to us. The reality is that people get hurt or die every single day in all kind of ways, including cycling accidents, and that I am in no greater (or less) danger because it happened to someone close to me. It also tells me that perhaps my friend may have done things which put himself in harms way being a relatively new rider, e.g., not paying attention to turning vehicle, not wearing hi-viz gear, slow to react to situation, riding too close to curb. Or perhaps he lacked the bike handling skills to maneuver himself out of harms way.

I won't know the full story until I talk with him. I will probably see him on Sunday. I'll give you an update of what happened.

Last edited by mcours2006; 05-13-16 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 05-13-16, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Thanks for the replies, everyone. The irrational side of me tells me that cycling to work is too dangerous, and if something like this could happen to a close friend then it could very well happen to me.

The rational half of me tells me that this is the usual response when something tragic or near tragic happens to someone close to us. The reality is that people get hurt or die every single day in all kind of ways, including cycling accidents, and that I am in no greater (or less) danger because it happened to someone close to me. It also tells me that perhaps my friend may have done things which put himself in harms way being a relatively new rider, e.g., not paying attention to turning vehicle, not wearing hi-viz gear, slow to react to situation, riding too close to curb. Or perhaps he lacked the bike handling skills to maneuver himself out of harms way.

I won't know the full story until I talk with him. I will probably see him on Sunday. I'll give you an update of what happened.
As an experienced year round commuter and road cyclist in Boston for about thirty-years, and a previous cycle-tourist, including a cross country ride, I was hit from behind in 2012 with six weeks in the hospital, three months off work, and five months off the bike. That summer was one of the best cycling seasons ever. Occasionally I was transferred between my rehab hospital and acute care hospital on one of my main commuter routes, and I ached to ride again.

I eventually did, bought a high end carbon fiber bike, improved my riding style, and this summer I'm participating (successfully) in a workplace fitness challenge requiring at least a hundred miles a week just to keep up. I'm enjoying and riding better than ever. I frequently post that having a rearview mirror makes for all the confidence, and I look rearwards more then ever to feel safe.
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Old 05-13-16, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
As an experienced year round commuter and road cyclist in Boston for about thirty-years, and a previous cycle-tourist, including a cross country ride, I was hit from behind in 2012 with six weeks in the hospital, three months off work, and five months off the bike. ... I frequently post that having a rearview mirror makes for all the confidence, and I look rearwards more then ever to feel safe.
Jim - can you expand on this? I ride with a rearview mirror as well, but sometimes wonder, would it really help avoid being hit from behind. I mean, what if I did actually see a car heading right toward me from behind? What could I do at that point? There are times when I see a car that appears to be approaching a bit too close to the right side of the road where I'm biking, and then I know to be alert and even ride a bit closer to the curb until it passes (or if it's because the driver is looking to pass a left-turning car, I'll frequently take the lane - often turning to make eye contact with the driver while doing so - to keep him/her from passing me until I've passed the turning car). I see that as potentially being side-swiped, though, not hit from behind (although of course that's a possibility too). I'm wondering, how was it that you were hit from behind (if you don't mind me asking)? Do you think having a rear mirror would have made a difference in that incident? If so, how?
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Old 05-14-16, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
As an experienced year round commuter and road cyclist in Boston for about thirty-years, and a previous cycle-tourist, including a cross country ride, I was hit from behind in 2012 with six weeks in the hospital, three months off work, and five months off the bikeÖ

I frequently post that having a rearview mirror makes for all the confidence, and I look rearwards more then ever to feel safe.

Originally Posted by Jerrys88 View Post
Jim - can you expand on this? I ride with a rearview mirror as well, but sometimes wonder, would it really help avoid being hit from behind. I mean, what if I did actually see a car heading right toward me from behind? What could I do at that point?...

I I see that as potentially being side-swiped, though, not hit from behind (although of course that's a possibility too). I'm wondering, how was it that you were hit from behind (if you don't mind me asking)? Do you think having a rear mirror would have made a difference in that incident? If so, how?
Thanks for your reply, @Jerrys88. When I was hit from behind, it was on a wide, low-volume, well-lit residential road at about 9 PM in June, by a ďdistracted driver.Ē The route was so calm that I was not closely monitoring my rearward view. In fact, though perhaps I could have ditched the bike, Iím glad I didnít see it coming if I was going to get hit anyways.

I once read a comment that one should practice doing "bunny hops" so at least you could jump a curb if present on your right.

Obviously thatís the ultimate use of a mirror, and now I monitor rearwards more frequently. So hopefully being aware of the situation behind, even when not in immediate danger, allows the rider to avoid a dangerous situation, even by pulling off the road. And other than my accident, Iíve never had the need to bail out.

IMO, besides routine monitoring rearwards with the mirror, a most important use is to make quick decisions when encountering an obstacle in front of you, such as a car door, pothole, car entering your path, etc. Can you immediately veer left?

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My main argument for a mirror, particularly in the urban environment is summarized by Jimís Law of the Road: ďNo matter how well paved or lightly-traveled the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.Ē
Mirror threads are often popcorn threads, and Iím always dismayed when subscribers blithely write, often directed towards newbies, that you donít need a mirror and it doesnít help anyways. Why discourage such a simple piece of equipment? Iíve tried to think of the dangers of a mirror, and the best Iíve come up with is poking your eye with an eyeglass or helmet mounted mirror; or being too distracted by it, for example if you canít really get used to it.

Personally, I use an eyeglass mounted Take-a-Look mirror that allows me to maintain a forward-looking head position with just a sideward glance to see the rear. I really donít want to turn my head for an over shoulder glance away from the line of travel when speeding downhill on a pothole-strewn road with heavy traffic to my left and parked cars to my right. Furthermore, wind noise can sometimes obscure the sound of a passing car.

I find mirrors so easy to use, and so helpful that I wear both right and left.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I use both left and right rearview mirrors, in my case Take-a-Look eyeglass mounted ones. I got the idea from a cycling companion who used only a right hand mirror. The additional right hand mirror affords a pretty good rearward view, but is particularly useful:
  1. Riding on the left-hand side of a one-way street
  2. Riding in the middle or left lanes of a two-way thoroughfare
  3. In a rotary
  4. On a curved road to the right
  5. When passing entrance/exit ramps from a freeway, with the right hand mirror, I can view the ramps to my right, and stay wide of them, while watching upcoming traffic on my left, all while almost continuously looking straight ahead
  6. When the sun is directly behind, usually one mirror can be positioned away from the glare of the sun
  7. When wearing a backpack, usually one mirror has a less-obstructed view over my shoulder.
Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Ö I can also HEAR what's coming at me, with 2 exceptions. #1 and the most usual suspect is another bike. #2 is an electric bus or carÖ
One other situation where hearing is ineffective, even on rural roads, occurs when being passed by one car, and I'm never sure that another one is following the first. No problem with a mirror.

Addendum: This past weekend I rode with a companion on a low-riding recumbent three-wheel trike. I just deflected my right-hand mirror slightly downwards so I didnít have to crane my neck upwards to see him. The left-hand mirror was still in place to monitor rearward traffic.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-14-16 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 05-14-16, 04:21 AM
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Sorry about your friend. Wish him a speedy recovery from the bicycle commuting community.
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Old 05-14-16, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I eventually did, bought a high end carbon fiber bike, improved my riding style, and this summer I'm participating (successfully) in a workplace fitness challenge requiring at least a hundred miles a week just to keep up. I'm enjoying and riding better than ever. I frequently post that having a rearview mirror makes for all the confidence, and I look rearwards more then ever to feel safe.
I agree with you. I started wearing a helmet-mounted mirror a awhile a go as well, and while I'm not sure if I can avoid being hit behind even with the mirror, I do feel that knowing what's coming behind me gives me a fighting chance, even if it's a fool's chance. I feel quite vulnerable without the mirror now having gotten so used to glancing at it every few seconds while I ride.
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Old 05-14-16, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I agree with you. I started wearing a helmet-mounted mirror a awhile a go as well, and while I'm not sure if I can avoid being hit behind even with the mirror, I do feel that knowing what's coming behind me gives me a fighting chance, even if it's a fool's chance. I feel quite vulnerable without the mirror now having gotten so used to glancing at it every few seconds while I ride.
Loving my SafeZone helmet mounted mirror! The start of my commute includes a hill descent towards a busy intersection - I have to cross 2 lanes to get to the left turn lane while descending fast at the same time. The mirror makes this so much easier. It's also handy for seeing anyone or anything coming up behind me fast.

Condolences about your friend and hope he heals fast.

BTW, this article was written by someone who felt bad that his friend was discouraged from bike commuting: The Invisible Visible Man: A sobering email, writing about cycling - and why my rational choice brings me joy
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Old 05-14-16, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
BTW, this article was written by someone who felt bad that his friend was discouraged from bike commuting: The Invisible Visible Man: A sobering email, writing about cycling - and why my rational choice brings me joy
Thanks for the link. Good read.
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Old 05-14-16, 11:51 PM
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I was wondering if this would hit the forum. I live a few miles from this road. I am familiar with it and the location of the accident. I ride a road like it and this gives me chills. I know the guy had to be drunk.
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Old 05-15-16, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdave222 View Post
I was wondering if this would hit the forum. I live a few miles from this road. I am familiar with it and the location of the accident. I ride a road like it and this gives me chills. I know the guy had to be drunk.
Riding on that MUP is almost like riding on the sidewalk makes you much more likely to be overlooked by drivers.
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Old 05-15-16, 05:02 AM
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I spoke saw him yesterday after he went home from the hospital. He's actually doing well, all things considered. Three cracked ribs on both sides, cracked shoulder bone, chipped tail vertebrae, bruised kidney and liver, impacted tooth, broken finger, and almost punctured lung.

This is the intersection where it happened:
https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Lak...398018!6m1!1e1

He was approaching the intersection from the west. That's from the left side on StreetView. A pick up truck stopped at the stop sign at Logan Ave. Without looking to see if there was bike traffic approach from his (driver's) right where my friend was coming from, the driver accelerated out quickly to make the right turn. My friend braked hard to avoid, but couldn't, and hit the truck. What happened next was a bit blurry to him, but he thinks he was dragged between the front and rear wheels of the truck for a few meters before the truck came to a stop. He was pinned for 15 minutes before fire crew was able to free him.

This was during afternoon rushours, so there were lots of other cyclists on that MUP.

Obviously the driver is at fault, but I can't help but think this kind of collision is avoidable. I think riding a MUP like this one lulls people intio a false sense of security for cyclist because they think they are isolated from the traffic.
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Old 05-15-16, 08:54 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Riding on that MUP is almost like riding on the sidewalk makes you much more likely to be overlooked by drivers.
MUP? Is that a Mixed Use Path?
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Old 05-15-16, 09:15 AM
  #23  
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Multi use path. Runners, strollers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.
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Old 05-15-16, 09:34 AM
  #24  
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I agree that's a glorified sidewalk. I also agree that I would slow down and approach that intersection with caution. A blinking headlight might help attract drivers' attention on a cloudy day like that, but it doesn't beat just being aware of who is at the intersection and likely driver behaviors.

On my morning commute, the first MUP I get on is similar to that one. It runs parallel to a very busy street with 3-4 lanes per side, fast moving cars, etc. This is the MUP cyclists have to take to access the bridge towards the major MUP that passes through the neighborhood (Mt. Vernon Trail). I generally prefer street riding over sidewalk riding but here I haven't much of a choice.

It also intersects a couple of driveways and one street which has only one lane/side at the intersection, but there's always a steady stream of cars approaching the intersection in the morning. Before I got my blinking headlight, half the drivers would stop as close as possible to the bigger street while waiting to make a right turn - as close as the car can get without getting hit by cross-traffic - thus blocking the pedestrian/MUP crosswalk. With the headlight, they stop short of the crosswalk more consistently.

Last edited by GovernorSilver; 05-15-16 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 05-15-16, 10:24 AM
  #25  
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Riding a bicycle/motorcycle on the same road as larger vehicles will always be dangerous (you're much smaller with less safety equipment). It basically comes down to if you're willing to take the risk (if it's worth it to you). If not, stick to MUPs/sidewalks (where legal) or find another means of transportation you're more comfortable with IMO. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
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